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Education Accountability and Authority Chapter 5 Lisa Smith Sophia Kypreos Amy Sarkesian Chapman University College EDUU 607

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Education Accountability and Authority

Chapter 5

Lisa SmithSophia KypreosAmy Sarkesian

Chapman University CollegeEDUU 607

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Education Accountability and Authority

“Accountability is a loaded term within the school improvement and reform movements of several countries, including the US. Efforts to introduce educational standards, to enact school choice, and to require more rigorous forms of teacher preparation are attributable largely to the popular impression that teachers and schools should become more answerable to their publics.” -p.167

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• Education reform, in the eye of the public, holds heavy weight on teacher and school accountability

• A variety of complex social factors that affect accountability are often overlooked by the public

• Public scrutiny due to search for accountability of public schools and teachers may have negative affects on the education system

• A major challenge to the increasingly public awareness to teacher and school accountability is the doing so in a way that crosses the line into a teacher’s authority

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Accountability and Authority

• Society members expect teachers, being public figures, to accept and expect public scrutiny that comes with accountability

• Accountability, which is open to the public and politicized, often portrays teachers’ involvement in the debate as “defensive and self-serving” rather than driven by pedagogy and student needs

• Educators participating in public discourse may point out to the public that education depends and relies on many parties- not the teachers alone– This is not to be perceived as an unwillingness to

accept roles and responsibilities of teachers

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Accountability Hazards in Education Reform

Based on the assumption that accountability is a “principle which serves a purpose”, the following hazards have been associated with accountability being used as a tool for education reform:

• Accountability becomes instrumentalized and causes teachers’ performance and work to be further judged and observed

• Accountability as a reflection of performance on routine assessment allows for schools, teachers, and education to be evaluated and judged by entities outside of the schools themselves, thus viewed as “something done to the schools and teachers” rather than “done by the teachers in any meaningful way” p.168

• Accountability in education should extend to all members of society as a social norm and shouldn’t be viewed as a simple view of practice

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Philosophical Insights on Accountability

What teachers do…• Teacher effectiveness is dependent on decisiveness

and a sense of purpose and certainty• Teachers’ purpose is to convey knowledge to their

students• Teachers who are successful are aware of student

strengths and search for opportunities that arise in daily instruction, and recognize and are prepared to respond to problems and challenges in the classroom

• Teachers’ talents entail a broad range of skills within multiple domains

KEY: The above responsibilities are not aligned with societal expectations of teachers

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Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tasks

Determinate• Easily measured• Focus of most educational

reform and can result in paradoxical results

• Negative results include the focus on tasks that are easy to validate, compare, and interpret- don’t include indeterminate tasks/duties

Indeterminate• Not easily measured• Measure competencies that

are not easily defined and include teachers’ expectations to nurture students beyond curriculum standards

• Not comparable to determinate measures

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Accountability and Democracy

Education is under the watch of the citizens of society and benefits from a widespread participation- including teachers, parents, and society members. The shared responsibility allows for teachers’ performance to be under public scrutiny not often found in other professions.

Education, under democratic principles, is a right and a responsibility which is overlooked by the government. Teachers’ role is to exercise their professional judgment in implementing curriculum and meeting needs of students.

Accountability, from a democratic standpoint, allows for society members to take part in the education system.

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Accountability and Democracy:Public Involvement

Seven forms of stakeholder accountability:

1. Political

2. Professional

3. Financial

4. Managerial

5. Contractual

6. Legal

7. Personal

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Accountability as Instrumentalized Education Reform:

England’s Education Reform Act

The ERA of 1988 enacted four sets of changes in England’s educational system:

• A restructuring of school governance roles and duties• A call for parental choice in determining their

children’s schools• The adoption of a national curriculum• The establishment of national student assessment


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Restructuring Prior to ERA

• UK being the first industrial power whose history lies in commerce and empire

• In 1970’s, the global oil crisis led to insufficient funding in British public schools

• Liberals hoped to achieve a more egalitarian state rather than the elitist past

• Due to low reading and writing standards, the Conservatives and media placed blame on teachers and held them responsible for the moral and economic decline of the nation

The above historical ideologies, social factors, and state of economy led to the need for a restructuring plan and reform in education

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Tools as the Critical Evaluation of Educational Reform

• Theoretical adequacy• Policy effectiveness• Empirical validity

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Theoretical Adequacy of the ERA

• Results of the ERA were more political than pedagogical

• Reform was to reverse England’s economic decline, maximize human resource, and stimulate social progress

• Based on theoretical foundation of human capital formation

• Assumption that national economic improvement is connected with education improvement

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Two guiding assertions of the ERA

• Accountability– Clearer management roles– Administration of prescribed curriculum– Regular assessments– Holds educators and educational leaders responsible

• Parental choice and localized control– Parents allowed to choose schools– School funding tied to enrollment– Schools must raise standard to attract students– Faced school closure with inadequate enrollment– Reduced teacher autonomy by increasing interest in

parent preferences and aligning instructional practice accordingly

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Broad ERA Goals

• Address lack of standards– Government adopted a highly detailed national

curriculum– Expectations that schools will “bring 80 to 90 percent of

all pupils at least to the level of pupils of average ability in individual subjects”

• Make available the educational rigor long available to the English elite extended to society– Potential to promote greater homogeneity in schools

throughout the system– Policy reinforced differences from school to school

rather than a standard educational experience

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Flaws of the ERA • Proponents philosophy is the policy would help empower the parents

of British schoolchildren, however, ERA’s move to curricular standards and assessments allowed little parent input

• Funding latitude to certain schools but not to others– Educational variation within the school system

• Freedom of parent choice is illusionary– Parents were free to chose which school to teach the centralized

curriculum• Relationship of the reform’s measures to its promised outcome

– Meaningful factor for assessing accomplishment is the equitability of educational financing and distribution

– England’s reformed schools are potentially elitists• Diagnoses of the educational system’s problems received little

attention• Failed to directly attack underlying causes of ineffective schooling

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Theoretical Adequacy Questions (Teachers can apply these questions in thinking about plans for

change that they encounter in school)

• Is there a theoretical foundation for the proposed reform?

• What is the hypothesized relationship of the reform to its stated outcome?

• Are the claims being made in favor of the reform theoretically sound? Plausible?

• What other factors might theoretically account for the observed outcomes?

• Is the reform program taking those factors into consideration?

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Policy Effectiveness of the ERA• Appeal of choice school enlisted the support of the English citizenry for

changes• Furthered the interests of the business and industry sectors

sympathetic to conservative ideologies• Problem of serving the minority populations continued to grow• Teachers objected to the national curriculum because of its emphasis

on factual learning and had little input in its development• Major expenses in developing and implementing its standard

curriculum and national tests, and constant adjustments– Similar to NCLB

• No teacher flexibility in curriculum– Expected to adhere to instructional directives– Impeded teachers from applying professional judgments;

accommodations, unexpected situations, and ability levels• Popular schools were crowded• Due to constant revisions, teachers had insufficient time and resources

to do their job properly

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Policy Effectiveness Questions (Teachers can apply these questions in thinking about plans for

change that they encounter in school)

• Is there support for this reform (e.g., public, governmental)?

• Will there be threatened interest groups that will attempt to sabotage it?

• What are the resource allocation, teacher training, and cost requirements of the reform?

• How long will it take to implement it, and is it enough time being given to adequately assess it?

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Empirical Validity of ERA• Polls and survey results concluded that a relatively high level of

support existed among both parents and teachers just after the reform was put into place

• Others refuted those claims using detailed anecdotal information• Parents had mixed feelings about the new system

– Perception was the schools and curriculum were vulnerable to political manipulation

– Parents identified themselves and consumers and schooling as a product

• Little evidence existed on the validity the reform supplied what the parents needed

• Research prior to the reform suggested that parents cared more about student happiness, extra-curricular offerings, and school location than instructional excellence

• Government ensured that parents would receive an annual report identifying their school’s standing on a number of counts

– Did not address broader interests among the parents such as general student contentment

• Early research showed that some empirical justification existed about the system’s potential to provide equitable opportunity

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Empirical Validity Questions (Teachers can apply these questions in thinking about plans for

change that they encounter in school)

• Is there any empirical evidence regarding the reform?

• Is research available elsewhere regarding the successes of similar programs?

• If research was conducted, how satisfactory was the research design?

• What kind of claims and interpretations are being made of the research findings?

• Are the research findings unequivocal or ambiguous? What might account for these findings?

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Conclusions Regarding ERA

• Similarities between Britain and the United States are obvious– Calls for educational change have been enthusiastic

and relentless– Critics encouraging change identified educational

reform as a key to national economic progress, especially to the forces of globalization

• Differences between Britain and the United States are obvious– England has enacted reform more quickly– British model had limitations in terms of its potential to

demonstrate that choice and competition can drive successful change

– The British plan was self-contradictory

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Sociopolitical Factors Shaping Education in England and Germany

• England• Factor

– England has retained strong links to its aristocratic past

• Response– Mid 19th century “public

schools” were privately endowed schools as a charity for poorer members of society

– Wealthier members were educated with tutors

• Educational Implications• Growth of middle class and the

Industrial Revolution brought a demand for a secondary school that might exclude the working class

• Public schools were reformed to provide an alternative to exclude the poor

• Germany• Factor

– Enormous war penalties on the Germans contributed to a near loss of confidence on the German economy

– Hyperinflation was so pronounced during the early 1920s, a U.S. dollar was worth several trillion marks

• Response– Adolf Hitler rose to power

• Educational Implications– Schools were one of

Hitler's’ most important mouthpiece for propaganda

– Contemporary German school system reflects safeguards against manipulation

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Education and New Challenges in Post-Reunification Germany

• No similar popular input or normal policy formulation process existed

• Integration of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) into the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) resulted in the overturning of East Germany’s patterns of social commitment

• East Germany was authoritarian in its control of education

• Directed the country’s teaching and learning with a level of manipulation that matched the country’s economy

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Two Germanies: Historical and Ideological Perspectives

• Germany was divided following WWII as a result of ideological differences among the Allies– Soviet Union embraced socialist beliefs– Western Allies supported capitalism

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The Context of Reform: Schooling in the Former GDR

• Three overarching functions of the country’s school system• Guarantee society’s economic development• Dismantle class structures and establish a classless society• Ensure allegiance to the ideals of communist SED

(Socialist Unity Party) party and the active engagement of East German citizens in securing the party’s objectives

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Polytechnical Upper Schools

• Unified the tandem aims of academic and vocational education• 10-year institutions• Attended 6 to 16 years of age• Emphasis on science and math• Near universal mode of education for East German youths• Embodied the principle of a classless society• All students attended the polytechnical school together• Aimed to produce well-rounded and versatile citizens and become

contributing members of the working class – Polytechnical education was “not any special subject of

instruction”, but rather, was intended to “penetrate all subjects,” linking them with practical activity, especially with manual skills”

• In the Marxist conception, their contributions in the workforce would create an “unprecedented expansion of productivity” that would render class distinctions meaningless

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Polytechnical Upper Schools…continued

• Youth’s allegiance to communist ideals were pursued in a number of ways

• A focus in civic class influence political values in students• Membership in the Free German Youth organization was

necessary for East German youths to secure their prospects for advancement

• Premilitary training was in the curriculum• Teacher monitored student activities noting progress

toward outcomes that were ideologically favorably and interceding sometime heavy-handedly when students behaved unfavorably

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The Prevailing SystemFRG vs. GDR

(Federal Republic of Germany vs. German Democratic Republic)

• In the FDR, the cultural and societal changes that took place were significant as far as education goes;

– Government officials recognized the central role that education plays in shaping the country’s culture.

– Teachers were given great opportunities to teach, rather than simply instruct; “this suggests a form of teacher expert authority that contrasts sharply with the sometimes less democratically sensitive and more coercive forms of authority exercised by teachers in the former GDR.” p. 191

– Parents and students were free to choose the type of educational path they wanted to go down, all of which adhered to the principle of “equality and opportunity”

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Three-Part Secondary School(anti-egalitarian)

• Hauptschule – A shorter, less difficult way towards completion of compulsory full-time attendance school.

• Gymnasium – University-bound students only.• Realschule – A middle group of students that

pursue various educational and career options.

“The modern-day German system has historical and philosophical underpinnings in the philosophy of new humanism, of which

Wilhelm von Humboldt was a leading exemplar.” p. 192

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Eastern Reintegration

• FRG dominated in the unification process because the government in East Germany was weak and contained no political legitimacy.

• Time was also a big factor. Once negotiations were made to unify, an average 2,000 people a day flocked through the Australian frontier, causing the GDR to dissolve rapidly.

• Educators from the west had to adjust their teaching styles, structures, institutional and instructional practices, and curricular imperatives accordingly, in order to align with the east.

• Focus was on practicality and knowledge application.• The eastern residents became ambiguous and often tinged

with feelings of loss, due to the immense cultural differences which were both political and ideological.

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Wilhelm von Humboldt(1767-1835)

•Great contributor to new Europe’s educational system.

•Greatest accomplishment: Vision of the vital university, which stressed academic freedom and was incarnated with his founding of the University of Berlin.

•Influenced and revolutionized the American educational system.

•John Hopkins University establishment as America’s first “pure” university.

•Harvard’s transformation from a liberal arts college to university.

•He worked to ensure individual freedoms and to instill responsibility, values, self-reliance.

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Critiquing Educational Reforms of German Reintegration

• Theoretical adequacy: The German Educational Reform was theory driven in the conventional sense.

• Policy-effectiveness: Was very effective for shaping the “individual” person, however in turn limited the East Germans as to school choice and educational practices.

• Empirical Validity: Not much empirical data since East Germany was a closed society. However, several case studies that have been conducted have concluded that the policy of the reform has assumed a “sink-or-swim” mentality in providing change. p. 197

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Critiquing Educational Reforms of German Reintegration…cont.

• After the reintegration, Russian teachers had to learn ways to teach English to students, especially in the secondary settings – this made it difficult to find qualified teachers.

• The existing teachers and schools were unfamiliar with the tasks associated with adapting to the tracked, differentiated secondary structure.

• Teachers with current GDR credentials were not granted the same qualifications under the FRG, which caused a major problem in the credentialing process.

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Ethical Lessons LearnedEnglish and German Reforms

• Is it ethical for the government to endorse a system that will arguably produce and sustain lower-quality institutions side by side with high-quality institutions, as seen in England’s ERA?

• The ERA reforms were very unethical in unloading so much work and responsibilities onto the teachers, which caused deprofessionalizing effects.

• East German teachers had a hard time adjusting to the reformations; they had a hard time accepting the fact that the state can do anything to them, and they cannot do anything to the kids, as they once could.

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Sustaining Reflection• Think of examples in your own country in which steps

are taken to ensure that all participants have the same educational experience and treatment. Think of examples of differentiated instruction. What are the implications of these contrasting circumstances in terms of teacher roles and accountability?

• List several determinate and indeterminate tasks you have observed recently.

• A British office circulated a statement that read, “parents know best the needs of their children – certainly better than most educational theorists or administrators, better even than our mostly excellent teachers”. What can you conclude about the vision of authority behind this statement?

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• The End